Eiji Aunoma has been the producer and director of Zelda titles dating back to the Nintendo 64 classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You would think he knows everything about every Zelda game, both inside and out, in order to do his job. That assumption would be wrong, my friends.
In fact, Game Informer recently ran an interview with Mr. Aonuma as part of their October Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword cover story where Aonuma revealed he’s never actually beaten the original Legend of Zelda. Twist!
"I’ve never actually finished it," Aonuma told Game Informer. "I almost feel like there’s still no game more difficult than it. Every time I try to play it I end up getting 'Game Over' a few too many times and giving up partway through. Certainly after playing the original Zelda for the first time, I didn’t ever think that I wanted to make a game like that."
Oh, how fate has other plans for us.
As the interview continued on, Aonuma elaborated a bit and explained which game in the franchise it was that got him fully invested in the Legend of Zelda series. I imagine it’s the same title that got a lot of people on-board — A Link to the Past.
"That sense of exploration of the world itself was really where I latched on to the series," Aonuma explained.
As the story goes, A Link to the Past was a huge inspiration for Aunoma, which influenced his first directed game, Marvelous. It was Marvelous that got Aunoma noticed by Nintendo’s own Shigeru Miyamoto, and the rest is game-changing history.
But to go back to the original point of this piece — Aunoma not finishing the first Zelda — I honestly feel for him. I, too, never finished the original Legend of Zelda. It was balls hard, admit it. It was also a daunting experience that my fragile brain at the time couldn’t handle. It wasn’t until my later years in life that I found an appreciation for massive, open-world titles. And because I now have that admiration, I love the Zelda series. But I’ve never revisited the original Zelda to see if I now have the chops to master it.
How about you, did you ever finish the original Legend of Zelda? Let us know in the comments below. And maybe you could teach Mr. Aunoma a thing or two.